FamilyWorks Receives transformational $3M gift from local anonymous donor

by | Jun 25, 2024

FamilyWorks, a legendary nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering families in the North Seattle area, has announced the receipt of an extraordinary $3-million gift from a local anonymous donor. This generous contribution marks a significant milestone in the organization’s mission to foster community growth, sustainability, and equity and advances the goals of their Nourishing Communities Capital Campaign which include constructing a new family resource center, renovating the Wallingford Food Bank, expanding programming and partnerships, and investing in staff.

This generous donation, the largest in FamilyWorks’ nearly 30-year history, will help FamilyWorks address the rapidly increasing demand for their services due to the impacts of economic uncertainty, persistent inflation, and the housing affordability crisis on local families. The cost of living in Seattle is 55% higher than the national average, and one in two American families struggle to afford diapers. According to the US Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, Seattle is the sixth most expensive city in the country for buying groceries, costing a household of four an average of $289/week. FamilyWorks program participants report often having to choose between food, bills, or taking on more debt. Since 2019, the number of households accessing their programs has risen from 2,191 households annually to more than 5,000 households in 2023, and FamilyWorks projects this number to increase to 7,900 families by 2026.

The unprecedented gift will enable FamilyWorks to achieve several key milestones, amplifying its impact on the community: 

  1. Purchase of the Cedar Crossing Family Resource Center: In the Fall of 2023, FamilyWorks completed the construction of the Cedar Crossing Family Resource Center in the Roosevelt neighborhood of Seattle, leasing the space from Bellwether Housing. This gift will allow FamilyWorks to purchase the Family Resource Center outright. The transformative power of owning the facility cannot be overstated. It provides FamilyWorks with stability, sustainability, and the ability to tailor services to the specific needs of our community with greater flexibility and autonomy. With the acquisition of the property, FamilyWorks will unlock substantial savings in operating lease expenses. These savings will be redirected towards bolstering program staff wages, addressing wage inequity within the sector, and bridging the disparity between existing wages and the living wage essential for residing in the Seattle area.
  2. Cornerstone Impact Investment at the Sunbreak: FamilyWorks will make a significant impact investment at the Sunbreak, a Bellwether Housing development located in the University District. The development will include 248 units of affordable housing, childcare facilities, a second FamilyWorks Family Resource Center on the ground floor, a community garden, and play spaces. The return on this investment will be channeled into staffing costs at the new center, with the original principal being returned within 15 years. 
     
  3. Funding for Research Study: FamilyWorks will fund a research study to document the effectiveness of co-locating family services at affordable housing communities. The findings from this study will be utilized to inform local policy and the allocation of public funds towards these services. This initiative aims to advocate for increased support and funding for programs like FamilyWorks, which play a vital role in supporting families. By showcasing the impact and benefits of co-location, FamilyWorks seeks to encourage regional policymakers to prioritize funding high-impact family support programs that FamilyWorks and community organizations deliver each day throughout the state.  

“We are deeply grateful for this transformational donation, which will propel us to expand our reach, enhance our services, and advocate for systemic change for families who have been marginalized by racial, economical, and food injustice,” said Marcia Wright-Soika, Executive Director of FamilyWorks. “This kind of creative and trust-based philanthropy shows what’s possible when community members channel generosity into action, in partnership with community organizations on the frontlines. We’re honored by the way this gift will give FamilyWorks the opportunity to make meaningful and lasting change in the lives of families throughout the Seattle area, furthering the goals of our Nourishing Communities Capital Campaign.”

FamilyWorks extends its heartfelt appreciation to the anonymous donor for their profound generosity and commitment to building stronger, more equitable communities. 

About FamilyWorks

For nearly 30 years, FamilyWorks has partnered with families to alleviate food insecurity and ensure they have resources and support to overcome systemic barriers to equity, build stable communities, and thrive. FamilyWorks serves families in and around North Seattle who have been marginalized by food, economic, and racial injustice. With two Food Banks, a Family Resource Center, a growing roster of mobile and satellite service locations, and a vast network of community partners, FamilyWorks provides meaningful and culturally responsive services to more than 5,000 households each year.

For more information about FamilyWorks and its mission, please visit familyworksseattle.org.

Recent Posts

July PhinneyWood Housing Market Snapshot

July PhinneyWood Housing Market Snapshot

Local podcasters create Rainbow Hop episode that highlights PhinneyWood’s pride and inclusivity

Local podcasters create Rainbow Hop episode that highlights PhinneyWood’s pride and inclusivity

Bring your old house paint to Dabble to be turned into art – and join in the fun

Bring your old house paint to Dabble to be turned into art – and join in the fun